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Iran tanker row: Detained ship sets sail from Gibraltar

An Iranian ship held by Gibraltar since July on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria has left port.
Marine tracking shows the tanker moving east into the Mediterranean and lists Kalamata in Greece as the destination.
Gibraltar earlier rejected a request by the US to again seize the ship, which has changed its name from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya-1.
The US made the last-minute request on Friday, a day after Gibraltar lifted its detention order.
Gibraltar said it could not comply with Washington’s request to issue a new detention order because US sanctions against Iran did not apply in the EU.
Tehran said it was ready to dispatch a naval escort to the Adrian Darya-1.
What’s the background?
The ship with its crew of 29 – from India, Russia, Latvia and the Philippines – was seized with the help of British marines on 4 July, after the government of Gibraltar – a British territory – suggested it was heading for Syria in breach of EU sanctions.
The move sparked a diplomatic crisis between the UK and Iran, which has escalated over recent weeks and saw Iran seize a British-flagged and Swedish-owned oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Gulf.
The Gibraltar authorities freed the vessel on Thursday after receiving assurances from Iran that it would not discharge its cargo in Syria.
The US justice department then filed a request to detain the ship on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which it has designated a terrorist group.
Why was the US request denied?
Gibraltar, in a statement on Sunday, said it could not comply with the request because the Revolutionary Guard Corps is not viewed as a terrorist organisation by the EU, which the British territory is currently part of.
It also said that US sanctions preventing oil exports from Iran could not be enforced by the EU, reflecting what it said were “the very different positions and legal regimes in the US and the EU”.
There has been no response yet from Washington.
Iran’s ambassador to Britain, Hamid Baeidinejad, tweeted on Sunday that two specialist engineering teams were on their way to Gibraltar.
The Stena Impero, which was seized by the Revolutionary Guard on 19 July, remains in Iranian hands.
The UK has since announced it would join a US-led taskforce to protect merchant ships travelling through the key shipping route in the Strait of Hormuz.
Tensions between Iran and the West can be traced to the resurgence of another crisis – that over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Last year, Washington withdrew from a 2015 deal to limit Iran’s nuclear activities amid suspicion that Tehran was still trying to develop nuclear weapons, something Iran has always denied.
Since then, US-Iran tensions have grown after Washington imposed – and latterly tightened – its sanctions against the country.
The UK and other European countries have said they remain committed to the deal.
-BBC
Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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